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Sarah Knuckey

Lieff Cabraser Clinical Professor of Human Rights

Sarah Knuckey

Lieff Cabraser Clinical Professor of Human Rights

Sarah Knuckey is the Lieff Cabraser Clinical Professor of Law, the director of the Human Rights Clinic, and the faculty co-director of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School.

Knuckey is an international human rights lawyer who has carried out fact-finding investigations and reported on human rights and armed conflict violations around the world, including related to unlawful killings, sexual violence, corporate abuses, the impacts of extractive industries, and protest rights. Her academic research interests include human rights methodologies, critical perspectives on human rights, clinical pedagogy, and post-traumatic stress disorder and resilience.

Knuckey is a founding editor of Just Security, an online forum for analysis of U.S. national security law and policy. Knuckey has served as an adviser to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions (2007-2016) and chair of the Legal Working Group on the redrafting of the Minnesota Protocol. Previously, she was an Adjunct Professor of Clinical Law and director of the Initiative on Human Rights Fact-Finding and the Project on Extrajudicial Executions at New York University School of Law’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, and clerk to the Honorable Justice Michael Kirby at the High Court of Australia.

  • LL.M., Harvard Law School, 2006
  • LL.B., University of Western Australia, 2004
  • B.A., University of Western Australia, 2004
Areas of Expertise
  • International human rights law, fact-finding, advocacy
  • Human rights in armed conflict, counterterrorism, and the use of force
  • Business and human rights
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder and resilience in the human rights field
  • “Autonomous weapons systems and transparency: towards an international dialogue,” Autonomous Weapons Systems: Law, Ethics, Policy 164, (Nehal Bhuta, Susanne Beck, Robin Geiß, Hin-Yan Liu & Claus Kreß eds.), 2016
  • The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding, (with Philip Alston ed.), 2016
  • “Mental Health Functioning in the Human Rights Field: Findings from an International Internet-Based Survey,” (with Amy Joscelyne, Margaret L. Satterthwaite, Richard A. Bryant, Meng Li, Meng Qian, and Adam D. Brown), 10(12) PLOS One, 2015
  • “Murder in Common Article 3,” The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary, (Andrew Clapham, Paola Gaeta, and Marco Sassòli, eds.), 2015
  • “Righting Wrongs? Barrick Gold’s Remedy Mechanism for Sexual Violence in Papua New Guinea — Key Concerns and Lessons Learned,” Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic, 2015
  • “Company-created remedy mechanisms for serious human rights abuses: a promising new frontier for the right to remedy?” (with Eleanor Jenkin), 19 International Journal of Human Rights 801, 2015
  • “Drones and Targeted Killings: Ethics, Law, Politics,” (ed.), 2015
  • “On Australia’s Doorstep: Gold, Rape, and Injustice,” 199(3) Medical Journal of Australia 1, 2013
  • “The Long-Term International Law Implications of Targeted Killings Practices,” (with Christof Heyns), 54 Harvard Law Journal Online 101, 2013
Honors and Awards
  • Parker School Global Innovation Award
  • Fulbright Postgraduate Award
  • Murphy Postgraduate Scholarship
  • Harvard Human Rights Program Fellowship
  • Parsons Memorial Prize for Law
  • KCF Keall Prize in Law
In the News
  • “Many in Central African Republic ‘want to pursue peace and justice,’” United Nations Radio: News & Media, August 4, 2016
  • “La médecine légale, un outil de lute contre l’impunité en RCA,” MINUSCA, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, July 27, 2016
  • Hilary Beaumont, “Women accuse the world’s biggest gold mining company of ignoring rape complaints,” Vice News, July 1, 2016
  • “Law School’s Human Rights Clinic Supports Redrafting and Updating of ‘Minnesota Protocol,’” Columbia Law School, April 28, 2016
  • Karen Sloan, “NYU and Columbia Law Schools Launch Human Rights Lab,” The National Law Journal, February 2, 2016
  • “Columbia University Team Investigates Sexual Assault and Right to Water in Papua New Guinea,” Columbia Law School, January 27, 2016
  • “Human Rights Clinic Students Submit Legal Brief to the UK Parliament on Drone Strikes and Targeted Killings,” Columbia Law School, December 14, 2015
  • “Porgera rape protocol ‘deeply insulting’ to victims: US academics,” ABC News/Pacific Beat, December 8, 2015
  • Samuel Oakford, “NATO was ‘Praying’ for MSF as the US Attacked Its Hospital in Kunduz,” Vice News, November 5, 2015
  • Spencer Ackerman, Sabrina Siddiqui, and Julian Borger, “Doctors Without Borders: we received no advance warning of US airstrike,” The Guardian, October 7, 2015
  • Nick Turse, “Why Bombing the Kunduz Hospital was Probably a War Crime,” The Intercept, October 6, 2015
Advanced Human Rights Clinic
Human Rights Clinic
Human Rights Clinic - Project Work
Human Rights Clinic-Project Work
Reading Group on Contemporary Legal Issues in Africa: Economy, Politics and Identity.